lic·o·rice | \ˈli-k(ə-)rish, -k(ə-)rəs \

Definition of licorice 

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery

b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)

2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With a low pH (very important), the foam-free gel formula also has stuff like licorice root, centella, witch hazel, and aloe — four cornerstones for hydration, balance, brightening, and calming. Allure Editors, Allure, "The Best New Beauty Products This Month," 9 July 2018 Hertzmark Hudis spoke with the Cut about her (other) favorite white linens, her distaste for black licorice and the room in her home that truly calms her. Jane Larkworthy, The Cut, "Estée Lauder’s Jane Hertzmark Hudis Believes Skin Care Is Self Care," 19 June 2018 However, the kitchen’s real talent showed in its use of tarragon, which can easily overpower a dish, that was held in check and masterfully added just an inflection of licorice to the blend. Michael Bauer,, "Sorrel off to a stellar start in Pacific Heights," 6 July 2018 For the past 60 years, Italians have scrubbed away their espresso stains with Marvis, which is known for its exotic flavors including licorice, mango, and nutmeg. Nick Marino, GQ, "The Best European Toothpastes Will Give Your Teeth a Vacation," 15 June 2018 Intense, stewed red and dark fruits are joined by nutmeg and black licorice in this rich wine. Michael Austin,, "12 Cotes du Rhone wines that offer a range of styles and values," 31 May 2018 The resulting gin blends foraged fennel and California bay laurel with juniper, long pepper, rose petals, and ginger for floral and licorice flavors. Sunset, "6 Botanical Gins We’re Loving Right Now," 22 Jan. 2018 Necco Wafers are unusual, with their chalky texture and flavors like licorice and clove. Devra First,, "People are panic-buying Necco wafers. They’re freaking out about the wrong candy.," 17 Apr. 2018 Candy: Beware of chocolate miniatures and licorice. Emily Rubin, Rd, Ldn,, "Going gluten free? Dietitian shares unexpected sources of gluten," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about licorice

Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for licorice

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for licorice



English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·o·rice | \ˈli-kə-rish, -rəs\

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy

2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ˈlik(-ə)-rish, -rəs \

Medical Definition of licorice 

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers

2a : glycyrrhiza sense 2

b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Spanish Central: Translation of licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

Comments on licorice

What made you want to look up licorice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!